Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have been named alongside seven other stars as the final nominees for the 2019 African Footballer of the Year.
Playing alongside Mane, the Reds pair narrowly missed out on Premier League glory, with Manchester City beating them to the title by just a point.
Along with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, they shared the Golden Boot with 22 goals to their name.
Man City’s Riyad Mahrez, who won the league, FA Cup and League Cup in the previous campaign, is also a front-runner for the award he won in 2016.
In addition to the domestic treble, the Algerian was also instrumental in the Desert Foxes’ success at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, which was their first triumph since 1990.
Impressive Ajax duo of Hakim Ziyech and Andre Onana have also been recognized for performances last season. They were vital components for Erik ten Hag’s troops as they won the Eredivisie and KNVB Cup, while progressing to the semi-final of the Champions League against all odds.
Also included in the list are AC Milan star Ismail Bennacer and Ahli Jeddah’s Youcef Belaili, Afcon winners with Algeria. The former was named player of the tournament after impressive midfield performances over the course of the competition.
Completing the list are Odion Ighalo, who ended the continental competition as top scorer with five goals, and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, who makes the cut after narrowly missing out on Afcon success with Senegal.
“The shortlist of nominees was decided upon by votes from a Caf Technical & Development Committee and a panel of media experts with emphasis on the nominees’ performance of during the year under review, 2019,” a statement on Caf’s website read.
“The final phase of voting for the men’s and women’s African Player of the Year, as well as the male and female Coach of the Year, will be selected by head coaches/technical directors and captains of senior national teams from Caf Member Associations.
“The Interclubs Player of the Year will be decided upon by the head coaches and captains of the group phase of the current season of Caf Interclubs competitions.”
The winner for each category will be revealed on Tuesday, January 7 2020, at the Caf Awards ceremony taking place at the Albatros Citadel Sahl Hasheesh, Hurghada, Egypt.
Full list of shortlist
Player of the Year: Andre Onana (Cameroon & Ajax), Hakim Ziyech (Morocco & Ajax), Ismail Bennacer (Algeria & AC Milan), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal & Napoli), Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Liverpool), Odion Ighalo (Nigeria & Shanghai Shenhua), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Arsenal), Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Manchester City), Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool), Youcef Belaili (Algeria & Ahli Jeddah).
Women’s Player of the Year: Ajara Nchout (Cameroon & Valerenga), Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria & Barcelona), Gabrielle Onguene (Cameroon & CSKA Moscow), Tabitha Chawinga (Malawi & Jiangsu Suning), Thembi Kgatlana (South Africa & Beijing Phoenix FC).
Interclubs Player of the Year: Anice Badri (Tunisia & Esperance), Kodjo Fo Doh Laba (Togo & RS Berkane / Al Ain), Taha Yassine Khenissi (Tunisia & Esperance), Tarek Hamed (Egypt & Zamalek), Youcef Belaïli (Algeria & Esperance / Ahli Jeddah).
Youth Player of the Year: Achraf Hakimi (Morocco & Borussia Dortmund), Krépin Diatta (Senegal & Club Brugge), Moussa Djenepo (Mali & Southampton), Samuel Chukwueze (Nigeria & Villarreal), Victor Osimhen (Nigeria & Lille).
Men’s Coach of the Year: Aliou Cisse (Senegal – Senegal), Christian Gross (Switzerland – Zamalek), Djamel Belmadi (Algeria – Algeria), Moïne Chaâbani (Tunisia – Esperance), Nicolas Dupuis (France – Madagascar).